NUS Student Group Put On Hiatus, College Says Student Activities Must Contribute To Positive Growth

When a student group from the National University of Singapore (NUS) decided to organise an event on consensual rope bondage, it did so with the intent to provide students a safe space to learn about this lessen-known practice, it said.

However, the event attracted some backlash in the form of a petition against it, and the event was cancelled amid concerns that some of its members had been doxxed.

Now, the group’s operations have been put on a hiatus by its college, amid a review of the educational value of its activities.

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tFreedom’s operations put on hiatus

The event was organised by tFreedom, a group under NUS’ Tembusu College.

On its Facebook page, tFreedom calls itself “a community that aims to build a diverse and inclusive college” by organising events for members to understand issues and ideas relating to gender, sexuality, sex and feminism.

However, Associate Professor Kelvin Pang, the Master of Tembusu College, has told MS News that the group’s operations will be put on hiatus.

This is for a review of its activities with regards to their educational value, as well as their alignment with the Code of Gender and Sexual Respect.

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tFreedom event cancelled after petition

The online event was set to be Wednesday (2 Sep), were a couple from 0101 studio were supposed to share their experiences with consensual rope bondage with participants.

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However, a petition on Change.org titled Stop Promoting Violent Sex at NUS accused the event of facilitating “violent sexual fantasies among students”.

Petition questions educational value of weekly sessions

The petition also said the group’s weekly Let’s Talk About Sex sessions have “no educational value” and only “stimulate sexual fantasies”.

As the petition apparently doxxed some of its members, tFreedom cancelled the event, and released a statement saying the petition misrepresented the event.

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Prof Pang also referred to the online disclosure of students’ personal details.

He said one reason for the cancellation of the event was to protect the privacy and well-being of students for this reason.

Tembusu aims to strike a better balance

Perhaps in response to the petition’s charge that tFreedom’s weekly sessions have no educational value, especially for a group that falls under the domain of an educational institute, Prof Pang said that Tembusu College will ensure that student-initiated activities are educationally sound.

They should also “contribute to the positive growth of our community”, he added.

Ultimately, though, it aims to strike a better balance between those aims and enabling student-initiated activities and discussions.

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College has tradition of intellectual curiosity

That’s because the college also has a proud tradition of intellectual curiosity.

Thus, Prof Pang said it will continue to create safe spaces for students to ask uncomfortable questions, and discuss complex and multifaceted issues respectfully and responsibly.

On tFreedom, Prof Pang said it’s an avenue for students to discuss topics including those relating to gender and sexuality.

In having such an interest group, the college prides itself on its culture of care and inclusivity.

Please engage in civil discussion

While it’s okay to express concerns over what our university students are learning, the doxxing of its members isn’t cool.

While it’s trying to protect its students, the college is also trying to be inclusive by letting them have a safe space to discuss all kinds of issues. At the same time, as it’s an educational institution, its programmes must have some educational value.

Let’s hope that a balance can be struck between both needs.

Featured image adapted from Facebook & Google Maps.